The trial of Midamar Corp. founder William Aossey Jr. got underway in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, yesterday. Aossey is on trial for 19 country relating to allegedly sending falsely labled halal meat overseas. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to make false statements, sell misbranded meat, and commit mail and wire fraud; seven counts of making or causing false statements to be made on export applications; seven counts of wire fraud; three counts of money laundering; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, reports The Gazette.

In his opening statement, attorney Richard Murphy said that Aossey, 73, “chose to do things his own way,” and he called “the shots” in every part of Midamar Corp. and that from 2007 to 2010, Aossey devised a scheme to sell halal meat to Maylasia and Indonesia while thwarting those nations’ slaughtering requirements. He said that Aossey directed employees to remove USDA labels from products produced by PM Beef, which was not authorized to export to those countries, and replaced them with labels from J.F. O’Neill Packing Co, an approved halal supplier.

Haytham Faraj, Aossey’s lawyer, admitted in his opening statement that “some wrong numbers” were on export certificates. He placed the blame on a former operations manager, Phillip Payne, who came up with the plan to change establishment information.

Faraj said Payne received a “sweetheart” deal from the prosecution. He asked the jurors to carefully listen to Payne’s testimony and consider his “motivation.”

Payne, 50, of Ryan, pleaded guilty earlier this year to misdemeanor conspiracy to make and deliver false certificates and writings. He faces a year in federal prison.

Source: The Gazette